Zionsville Welcomes New Main Street Merchant: CBD Advantage
Perhaps you have been curious about the new tenant at 213 South Main Street and would like to know what CBD Advantage is about. Meet Michael Gick, owner of CBD Advantage. Gick recently opened his doors in Bender’s Square, so we stopped in to learn more about him and his company, CBD Advantage.
The ABCs of CBD Advantage
Prior to Gick’s latest venture, he spent the last 25 years as an educator, coach and principal. He is passionate about natural alternatives and helping others.
“There’s so much [knowledge and misconceptions] out there about cannabidiol (CBD) products, and there’s a lot of quality products and a lot of junk that’s out there too,” Gick said. “I think the public has become really well informed over the last couple of years. People need to take time to research and understand Certificates of Analysis (COAs) and Indiana Senate Bill 52, what the state’s testing regulations are and what you’re specifically looking for. I will spend time with anybody who walks in the door, making sure they understand what they are taking, why they’re taking it and what we think the benefits are based on stories we have to back them up.”
Gick earned his first undergraduate degree from Purdue University in education. He moved to North Carolina where he taught special education, adaptive physical education and coached varsity basketball and baseball. He moved back to Indiana about 12 years ago when both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer. Gick accepted a teaching and coaching position at Rossville High School.
“I taught special education and physical education at Rossville and continued to coach before I became the dean of students [at Rossville High School],” Gick shared. “I was the principal at Rossville the last three years of my career as an educator. During that time, I really focused on mental health awareness because I feel that is the biggest need for our nation’s youth and where we are lacking the most.”
Gick shared some painful memories of losing some his former students to mental health-related issues, and it was after those devastating losses, he knew he had to act.
“I credit my parents for giving me a strong work ethic, morals and values to stand behind,” Gick said. “I also had a couple of teachers that were difference makers, maybe even lifesavers, for me. I wanted to dedicate a big portion of my life to helping others. I couldn’t stick my head in the sand and pretend mental health isn’t an issue anymore. I lost a couple of former students and athletes that I loved dearly, and that loss added to my passion for helping others.”
Gick admits that mental health and alternative solutions are a difficult subject—one he is willing to discuss with anyone who has questions or would like to have an honest conversation about it.
“Mental health is a hard topic, but it’s something that we have to face,” Gick emphasized. “We have so many students and adults who are on medications who suffer depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a side effect of their prescription medications, and then they need treatment for those side effects. I think it’s ridiculous.”
Gick continued, “When I first got into this [CBD] industry, I knew that there are products out there—products that have been around for centuries—that have been helping people. I knew that I had to stand up for this [industry], put everything I have on the line, and help educate people about the benefits of industrial hemp products. Whether or not you buy from CBD Advantage, you’re going to leave my store with the knowledge you need to purchase the right CBD products for you.”
He added, “You have to stay on top and know what you’re researching. I am always telling people not to go with the manufacturers’ research but to find the white papers and third-party reports. There are a lot of studies out there, but you have to look for them.”
Growing at the Speed of “Right”
Gick shared that he is taking methodical steps in growing his business and exercises a rigorous process of identifying and partnering with different CBD manufacturers from around the nation.
“There are a couple of different manufacturers that we are working with,” Gick said. “I am an innovator, but I have been very selective with who we are working with, the quality and batch purity of their products and the testing has to meet my strict standards in order for me to put the product on my shelves.”
Since the passing of the 2019 farm bill, Gick is exploring possible collaborations with local industrial hemp growers and processors with hopes to have a “locally grown and/or processed” section in his stores.
“I’m really excited for Indiana with the federal farm bill passing,” Gick said. “There’s some people doing right out there, and I’m exploring the idea of possibly working with a local grower and processor.”
Gick and his nephew, Chase Gick, who is also a shareholder of CBD Advantage, are prudent about entering any collaborative agreements. They are looking for the best partnerships and products possible for their growing business and are in no hurry to make any commitments that might compromise their stringent standards.
Gick added, “We have some incredible people working behind the scenes who are helping us build CBD Advantage with regard to consulting to help us make sure we are growing at the speed of ‘right’ and making the best decisions for our company.”
How Is CBD Changing Lives?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid that was discovered in 1940 by Dr. Roger Adams and his team at the University of Illinois. It is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants. One of the most important qualities—from a legal perspective—is that CBD is nonpsychoactive. In layman’s terms, you won’t get “stoned” after using it.
Unlike marijuana, hemp’s cousin plant, hemp is regulated to only contain a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of 0.3%, in contrast to marijuana’s average 5–20% THC content and, in some cases, up to 30% in premium strains.
CBD has been found to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antianxiety properties without any psychoactive effects, and its popularity as a medical supplement is why Fortune.com and other analysts believe CBD to have such a lucrative future as one of the leading applications of hemp in the nation.
There is a large retrospective case series published by The Permanente Journal that details a psychiatric clinic’s clinical application of CBD for anxiety and sleep complaints as an adjunct use to usual treatments. The conclusion was that “cannabidiol may hold benefit for some anxiety-related disorders” but stressed that controlled clinical studies are needed.
Gick, who has first-hand experience with treating PTSD, said, “PTSD and anxiety orders are real things. Unless you deal with it, you don’t understand how debilitating it can be in certain situations. We have research that shows how CBD can really help with [PTSD] and how it’s been a game-changer—even life altering—for people who suffer from PTSD.”
Gick continued, “There are particular strains [of CBD] that help with pain and inflammation. We’re not healing or fixing any illnesses, but when you’re getting rid of inflammation, from which most of our pain originates, and the body reaches homeostasis—the body starts to do what it does best naturally, and people feel the results.”
Many of Gick’s customers have been sharing incredible stories about how the products they’ve purchased from CBD Advantage have literally changed their lives—for the better.
“We’ve had multiple families come in, some breaking down, while they share their story about how their son or daughter is no longer a ‘zombie’ after weening off of their ADHD or ADD mediation or now they are no longer suffering night terrors,” Gick said with sincere emotion. “We’ve helped people with opioid additions.”
Gick paused and then added, “I love the fact that just in the time that I’ve been involved with the [CBD] industry, the stigma of CBD has been breaking down and people are becoming more educated. We are just now scratching the surface of what CBD products can do, and it’s exciting for us to be a part of it.”
Becoming Part of the Zionsville Community
“When I look for a new location, I go and visit the town or city,” Gick said. “I visit the local businesses and get a feel for the community. We truly are a community company, and while we’re working on growing our company—nationally—we want to become a part of the business and local community here in Zionsville. While I was looking around, I thought, if we’re going to be a part of this community, we need to be in the heart of it, so what better location than on the brick street?”
Gick was immediately welcomed by some members of the local business community to whom he is grateful for their guidance and sincere welcome.
“I walked into the first real estate agency that I came across and ran into Jennifer Blandford,” Gick shared. “She [Blandford] really helped me start the ball rolling, was very supportive and worked with me to help get our foot in the door.”
Why CBD Advantage?
While Gick and his nephew, Chase, are eager to become entrenched in the local community and look for ways to be engaged as the town’s newest retailer, they are also hoping to earn the trust and credibility from local residents and customers.
“We don’t have all the answers,” Gick admitted. “But peoples’ lives are being improved, and we strive to do our very best to help people. There is still so much research being done and to be done, but to be part of the beginning phase and not being afraid to put ourselves out there is part of what sets us apart. We are committed to helping and to educating people. If you have questions or are wondering how CBD works, we would like to invite you to come in and talk with us. Come in and ask us how or why—it just might change your life.”
For more information on CBD Advantage and for hours of operation, visit cbdadvantage.com.